keeping disabled people connected through art during lock down

During the challenging times we currently face due to Covid-19, it is great to see disabled people being supported in so many different ways – and we are so pleased to be part of it.

A local art initiative, which has been funded by Access Fylde Coast project, is enabling disabled people to continue using art to help people express themselves and their experience of the here and now during the Corona Virus lockdown.

Flowers by Chloe Macfarlane as part of the New Langdale programme

Before the UK’s lockdown, Blackpool-based artist Tina Dempsey had been running The New Langdale’s ‘Communication through Art’ programme, testing out new art-making approaches, materials and techniques, which culminated in a pre-lockdown exhibition at the Grundy Art Gallery in March 2020 – and while the present circumstances mean that meeting up and making art together in person isn’t possible – this hasn’t stopped the group from continuing its artistic explorations.

Tina has been finding innovative ways to maintain her connection to The New Langdale’s, which she had been running at Blackpool’s Independent Living Centre – and lockdown has not prevented the wonderful work being done across Blackpool and the Fylde Coast.

Using bespoke packs of art materials carefully prepared and safely delivered by Tina to the artists’ homes, alongside professional development feedback tailored to the individual, new works are being developed that take inspiration from the artists’ immediate surroundings, the people that they are with and what is providing them with comfort in these difficult times.

Kirsty Pemberton Paper Collage produced as part of the project

New artworks created throughout lockdown will be exhibited by Grundy Art Gallery in an online exhibition to be presented later this year.

We are so pleased to be able to support the work being done, especially during this time where many people may feel isolated, in collaboration with Grundy Art Gallery and Venture Arts, Manchester, a progressive visual arts organisation supporting learning disabled people to reach their life potential through the visual arts.

Alan Reid, CEO of Disability First, which spearheaded the Access Fylde Coast Project, says: ” Disabled people are experiencing unprecedented challenges in this current climate, seeing changes and reduction of key services, all impacting on the most vulnerable in society.

“I am proud to say that this shining example of team effort by Access Fylde Coast and Blackpool Council has not only driven forward, but also delivered one of the key areas of this ground breaking Disability First project. 

Paulette Brian, curator of the Grundy Art Gallery, says: “We are committed to providing a high quality programme of activity that strives to be important and relevant to as wide an audience / participant group as possible.

“The ‘Keeping Connected Through Art’ programme is a great example of this work and is a project that is laying the foundations for future activity with Tina Dempsey, artists from The New Langdale and our local and regional partners – Watch this space !!”

Cllr. Kim Critchley, Cabinet Assistant for Arts, said, “This excellent project is a shining example of art’s ability to help people express themselves and their experience of the here and now. I look forward to seeing the new artworks that are being created by Tina and The New Langdale team.“

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